There are so many different types of bicycles. But it’s still relatively easy to determine which one is right for you, if you know where you’re going to ride it. Just think about the area and its geographical peculiarities.
Of course, don’t forget that electric bikes are gradually gaining popularity now – they are equipped with an electric motor that runs on a battery. You can ride them in three modes: as a regular bike, with partial assistance from the motor (for example, uphill – you pedal, and the motor facilitates the movement), and on the motor only. The battery can be charged at home from a power outlet. Models with batteries are more expensive, but allow you to rest and cover greater distances.
Bike for city areas
For peaceful, everyday riding on asphalt bike lanes and dense soil in parks, a city bike is the perfect choice. These are the most important features of this bike type:
- Upright seating – just like on a chair.
- Simple design.
- High handlebars.
- Comfortable large saddle.
- A small number of gears (one, sometimes three or so).
- Low frame, or none at all – so that you could ride without problems in everyday clothes.
- A set of fenders to protect from dirt.
- Chainguard to cover the chain, so that clothes don’t get caught in it.
- No shock-absorbing fork.
- Large wheels.
- Tires with a smooth tread, that gives good ability to roll without pedaling.
- Cruiser. It has an original (often – retro) design, wide wheels and a massive frame, which can be quite heavy.
- Folding bike. It folds the frame, handlebars and sometimes even pedals. Perfectly fits in the trunk of the car, can easily be transported when you take a bus or subway.
- Comfort bike. This one has a multi-speed gear system and often a front shock absorber (such bicycles are called comfort hybrids). Thanks to this, it is comfortable to ride, in particular, on dirt paths in parks.
Bikes for off-road use
If you want to ride on dirt with notable ascents and descents, as well as on asphalt, choose a mountain bike. However, professionals still don’t recommend riding it in the city. Due to the fact that the tires of a mountain bike are thick and ‘fangy’, it will be more difficult to ride on asphalt compared to a city bike or a hybrid. Its common features include:
- Sporty riding position – you are going to lean forward.
- Aggressive frame design.
- Straight handlebars.
- Wide tires with off-road tread.
- A large number of speeds for comfortable riding in places with significant elevation differences.
- No fenders in standard configuration.
- Suspension is included in standard configuration: only the front one (this type is called hardtail), or both front and rear (dual suspension bikes).
Dual suspension bikes have a heavier frame. They are good for extreme riding and will suit those who are engaged in downhilling (racing on the track leading downhill, with steep descents and turns), or freeride (riding on trails with complex obstacles). Otherwise, you can opt for lighter hardtails.
Bikes for long journeys
For long bike trips with tents, sleeping bags and so on, a touring bike is suitable. In fact, it is a hybrid of road, city and mountain bike, designed for cargo transportation. It normally features:
- A very comfortable seating, in which you can spend a long time.
- Drop handlebars (which relieves your back), or butterfly handlebars (protecting your hands from getting cramped).
- Sturdy frame with special holes and brackets for attaching front and rear luggage racks, hinged holders for bags and flasks.
- Reinforced wheels (with 36 spokes against 32 in standard configuration) with wide tires.
- Transmission with more speeds.
- Fenders and mud guards.
- Powerful rim brakes.
- A fairly long wheelbase (the distance from the front wheel axle to the rear one) for a comfortable ride.
Bikes for covering long distances on smooth asphalt
In this case, you can choose a road bike. It is designed for very fast rides on good asphalt. Such models are also used for cycling races, marathons and other competitions, as well as personal training to improve physical fitness. The common features are:
- Maximum aerodynamic position (you’ll go almost horizontal).
- Low weight.
- Lightweight frame, usually made of carbon.
- Sporty saddle.
- No shock absorbers (for stiffness and stability on the road).
- No fenders, racks, bells and other accessories (so as not to weigh the bike down).
- Rigid wheels with narrow tires and smooth tread.
- Drop handlebars.
- Gear system with predominantly high speeds.
- Fitness road bike. It has a shorter frame, setting a higher riding position for you.
- Cyclocross bike. This one can be distinguished by a lower and shorter frame, wider tires and aggressive tread, which gives the ability to ride on the dirt as well.
- Trek/Triathlon bike. These bikes are for riding on cycling tracks and participating in triathlons, obviously. They have a short chain, a very low seat (the saddle is higher than the handlebars), and a fixed gear. They often have no brakes: to stop, the cyclist sharply squeezes the pedals – the wheel locks up and goes into a skid.
Using the information above, you will find it much easier to select the right bike for your needs and activities. In this matter, the main thing is to accumulate more knowledge, so that when you buy a bike, you get exactly what you expect.
However, it goes without saying that not everyone wants to buy a bicycle. Often – especially given the modern urban environment – bikes are not bought, but rented. In New York City, for example, residents and visitors can easily use the services of the trusted Central Park bike rental. And if you want to buy a bike, weigh up what kind of terrain you’ll be using it on and how far you’ll be riding. This way you’ll be able to find what you crave for.